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Jon Gruden and Rex Ryan Were on 'Hard Knocks' to Do a Whole Lot of Nothing

Plus: food trucks, Chris Baker quips, and more kicker shenanigans from Episode 3 at Buccaneers training camp


Florida: It may or may not be part of the South, just like it may or may not be home to a decent NFL team. With the Jaguars being the Jaguars, and Miami’s competitive hopes hinging on the abilities of a recently unretired Jay Cutler, Tampa Bay may be the state’s only hope for a playoff contender this season.

Unfortunately, with the season just weeks away, the Buccaneers have yet to impress. Their second preseason game, the centerpiece of Hard Knocks’ third episode, was a bumbling 12-8 win over the aforementioned lackluster Jacksonville team. But we’re not here to talk about actual football, right? To highlight the players who won’t get shine in a box score, we’re going to hand out some superlatives to the stars of our post-Aguayo documentary world.

Episode MVP

Defensive tackle Chris Baker gets top honors for being the voice of the audience (or me, at least), asking the necessary questions and speaking truth to Jaguars fans, who actually exist. Here are some Baker highlights:

  • All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, unhappy with the food offerings from Tampa Bay’s 2016 training camp, arranged this year for the appearance of three food trucks: one serving barbecue, one serving wings, and one serving snow cones. When this was announced to the team, Baker asked the key question: “Are the food trucks already paid for?” They were. Baker celebrated by grinding on a nearby tree.
  • After being taunted by Jaguars fans during an intrasquad scrimmage, Baker responded: “Y’all gotta be the angriest fans in the world. … Y’all gonna get at least three wins.” Which, honestly, might be a bit optimistic.
  • While on the sideline during the actual game against the Jaguars, Baker ate half a hot dog, which was also provided by McCoy.

Keep living your best life, Chris.

‘Thrones’ Moment of the Week

On Sunday, in “Beyond the Wall,” we saw the Night King give a world record–breaking performance in the javelin, Viserion join the army of the dead, Jon Snow’s suicide mission actually sort of work out, Sansa and Arya begin a full-on feud, and the possibility of some sweet, sweet incest between aunt and nephew. Yet, for the first time this season, Hard Knocks didn’t show us any footage of the Buccaneers talking Thrones. I guess we didn’t need to hear any more talk about the show’s … uh ... plot issues, but it would have been nice to get some athlete takes on the successor to Big Crossbow™.

The most popular TV show in the world may not have been important enough to merit inclusion, but apparently Jon Gruden who, again, is not currently a football coach, was important enough to stick around and deliver vague advice to players, along with Rex Ryan, another not-football coach who is an expert in flat jokes and platitudes. Analysis!


“Too Soon” Moment of the Week

Nick Folk, Tampa Bay’s current kicker, had a rough outing against the Jaguars. Folk had an extra point attempt blocked on the first drive of the game. Two quarters later, he lined up for a 47-yarder, which he promptly shanked wide right. “That was Aguayo-esque,” said the play-by-play announcer. Come on, man. The poor guy has been gone only a week!

“Athletes, They’re Just Like Us” Moment(s) of the Week

Center Ali Marpet apparently enjoys musical clichés just as much as we do. He opened the episode by playing the ukulele on the beach ...


… and then sang Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” on the practice field with teammate and fellow center Joe Hawley, before forgetting the lyrics midway through the first verse. Long live disco.

Acontextual Quote of the Week

“I’m pretty sure they get the goats from a goat rescue, and they’re only like a hundred dollars.” -Sefo Liufau, reserve quarterback

See you next week!

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.